May 20, 2008

The King of Snakes

Yes, among the other animals we own, we do have a snake. It's a ball python and he's about 12 years old (for some reason, people really like to know how old he is) anyway, this post is not about our snake Einstein, but about the King snake we found just as we were moving. My husband knows a lot about snakes, well he knows a lot about animals in general. He spotted this snake and brought it to our new house so the kids could see it. As you can see Super Bear was thrilled! I know some of you are wondering what this has to do with anything. Well, I just wanted to share a picture of the King snake so if you EVER see one, you don't kill it. This is the most incredible snake of them all. They eat other snakes, including poisonous ones like rattlesnakes. This is the snake that you WANT to have around, because it won't harm you it will protect you. I know some of you really don't like snakes, but please don't kill everyone you see.  Okay, I promise no more snake posts :)
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May 10, 2008

I Love to Paint

So this is what I was doing when the movers were unloading everything - painting.  I actually really love painting and since all the rooms were labeled and all the boxes were labeled, I didn't have to direct the movers, so I decided to paint.  I know it's a little obsessive!  We painted the kids bedrooms before we moved in, but I wasn't happy with the paint color I chose for our bedroom once I got the cut in done, so I was redoing it.  A long time ago I used to be a commercial painter and I painted rental houses and schools (uggh oil based paint). From those experiences I consider myself an accomplished painter (course we are NOT talking artistically painting here).  I like to paint walls - the end. I love using Benjamin Moore paint as it covers very well. So here are so simple tips to make painting easier and really you can pick up and leave off as necessary so any person (even a busy one) can do it...
  • prep work is essential (and boring).
  • take off the outlet covers and screw the screws which invariably get lost back into the outlet holes (thanks Dad)
  • patch any holes or mark with drywall compound, see for great detailed instructions (i love for learning new things)
  • cut in (my favorite part) which means use a brush to paint all of the edges of the wall.  you need a good brush here with no frayed edges, pros like Purdy, but I really prefer BM again, just a good and cheaper.  I have a 2", angled brush that I love and take very good care of for cutting in.
  • for good cutting in, you never dip your brush all the way in the paint, only the tip. you get a fair amount of the paint and carefully tap off the excess (don't scrape it on the side of the can, just tap inside the can wall) then the key is to turn your brush sideways and make a fat line of paint.  You should be able to see where the paint is going so you don't have to tape ANYTHING.
  • after your finish cutting in the top, bottom and corners, you roll the walls
  • using a roller means you have to have a drop cloth, but you really shouldn't get paint on anything unless you have an accidental drip.  keep wet lines between strokes and use paint, that's the thing i see often, not enough paint used
  • both your brush and your roller can be wrapped in foil and put in a grocery bag to keep from drying out for up to two days, making getting the paint off your hands the hardest part about stopping
  • throw away your roller cover when you are done - they are cheap and a huge pain to clean but you most clean your brush.  Using a wire brush made for this purpose (and scraping old paint off exteriors) is the best tool - invest.

May 5, 2008

Moving Sucks

Okay, so I'm sure my Aunt will cringe over that title, but there is just no other way to say it - moving (especially with kids) really stinks!  I mean, I used to move every year when I was single and it was no big deal - find a few friends, load the truck, unload, have pizza and a beers and you're done.  Not now - with three kids, one of which is a newborn and therefore nursing - this is NO FUN.  I want my mommy (who thankfully did come to help pack and unpack).  I do have some tips for making this nightmare a bearable situation.
  1. pack clothes and toys like you are going on vacation - everything else gets packed several weeks before the move - they will love opening their "new" toys in the new place
  2. use one room as the "packed" room and put all of the boxes in there, stacked as high as you can
  3. label all the boxes with the room AND contents and if you are using movers, number all the boxes so you can check them all off at your new place
  4. get LOTS of boxes, more than you think you'll ever need and put everything possible in them.  yes, it's easier to pack the pillows in trashbags, but it's not easier for movers to load and unload bags instead of boxes - remember boxes stack, bags don't
  5. craigslist is a great place for free boxes (contact me if you want my secret way for more boxes)
  6. purchase packing paper, do not use free newspaper because the ink gets everywhere and then everything has to be washed - really do you want to do MORE work?
  7. pack books in smaller sturdy paper boxes. you know the kind that reams of paper are sold in and offices use?
  8. use wardrobe boxes for tall outdoor things like rakes, shovels, brooms and big light things like couch pillows and giant stuffed animals
  9. stretch wrap your furniture if your movers won't, it's like industrial strength plastic wrap and it's amazing (incidentally to tear it just poke your fingers through it and then it will tear easily...see what working at Home Depot taught me?)
  10. most important - do a little at a time - taking breaks, playing with the kids, reading the paper, those are the things that keep you sane

Not everyone thinks it's an upstairs office, to them it might be just another bedroom.  I labeled every room in the house to make it easier for the movers to unload without my direction.


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